Things are moving along speedily for our favourite quadruplet — although not necessarily for the better in every case. Dong-man and Ae-ra pretty much condense twenty years of yearning into these four episodes, making grand ol’ confessions of ‘I Love You’ seem like the most natural thing in the world. On the other end of the spectrum, however, six years of effort in building a life together pretty much come crumbling down in a day — or a night, rather — for Joo-man and Sul-hee. Meanwhile, we get into the thick of things with a series of side-plots — our mysterious landlady, Ganako Hwang (Jin Hee-kyung); shady sunbae Kyung-koo (Kang Ki-dong); and who exactly is Nam-il? — that will hopefully come together to form a complete picture as we tumble into the second half of the drama.
Picking up from where we left off previously, Ae-ra goes to see Dong-man’s first match despite adamantly refusing him before. He knocks his opponent out within an astoundingly 19 seconds, and a rather dramatic scene ensues: Dong-man symbolically (and suavely) breezes past Hye-ran, and crouches in front of Ae-ra to comfort her. This is a turning point in their relationship as they begin to see each other in new light. But things take a huge leap forward a couple of days later when events conspire to bring the strangest mix of people together in Daecheon – Ae-ra’s father, Hye-ran, and the slightly-dubious sunbae, Kyung-koo. After Hye-ran spectacularly stomps over Ae-ra’s pride once again by snatching the microphone almost literally right out from under Ae-ra’s nose, she gets all her bad karma back when Dong-man chooses – finally! – Ae-ra over her.
It is wonderful to see Dong-man and Ae-ra finally get together because they truly are better together. With the benefit of having twenty years of friendship under their belts, neither of them are afraid to inform the other that he/she is being pig-headed at any point in time. But at the same time, they both love one another so much, and in ways that are even more important than fuzzy feelings or butterflies in the stomach. While he might be slightly dense sometimes, Dong-man truly understands Ae-ra, and always knows what to do or say to make her feel better. Similarly, for all of her prickly exterior, Ae-ra cares so much about Dong-man and would go to the ends of the world just to protect him.
The same could be said for Joo-man and Sul-hee — but unfortunately, love isn’t just about how much you care about one another, but also about making the daily commitment to choosing one another over everyone else, which can be challenging when you’ve been in a relationship for as long as six years. My heart goes out to Joo-man because it honestly does seem like the poor lad is just really kindhearted and circumstances just keep lending themselves to his detriment. Nevertheless, it is, still, extremely unfair to poor Sul-hee. Fingers crossed that they will be able to work through this together, but boy, they’ve got some hard work cut out for them.
The love plot between Joo-man and Sul-hee is one that is worth special mention, however. Their love is one that the masses can relate to; after all, not everyone is endowed with the good looks of Park Seo-joon and Kim Ji-won. But even more so, the struggles that Joo-man and Sul-hee face present no clear solutions, and everything falls within a very broad grey area. If we were to each put ourselves in either of their shoes, could we honestly say that we might have done things differently? So in a world of idealized relationships, dreamy moments, and tropes that make you swoon, this is a romance that embraces the relentless realities of the everyday, making it all the more hard-hitting.
And finally, we have the revelation of some new characters and the unravelling of some of the smaller plots, although that leaves us with more questions than answers. Nam-il, son of the landlady, finally makes an appearance but we still don’t yet know how Ae-ra and Sul-hee know him. It also unclear as to how Ganako knows Dong-man’s father, and what exactly is the deal with Kyung-koo? There is definitely more than what meets the eye, and I’m pretty sure that they are all, somehow, interrelated in one way or another. The real question is whether or not the writers will be able to weave these parallel subplots together in a seamless manner, and this remains to be seen.
Nevertheless, there has been a reasonable balance between the romantic and the comedic, while also throwing in a healthy dose of heartwarming familial tropes thus far. Even if the romantic scenes between Dong-man and Ae-ra sometimes get a tad too awkward with the two struggling to manoeuvre around their new dynamic, this drama definitely has built up enough momentum to carry through to its end. So as we hurtle towards the climax of what is slated to be a 16-episode drama series, here’s hoping that Fight My Way manages to bring everything together a satisfying close.
(Images via KBS)